Defending PIAA Class 2A champion Everett found out the hard way on Monday night what most WPIAL teams already knew.

Sydney Gonglik is a different breed.

After snapping Neshannock’s WPIAL-record 48-game winning streak in last year’s PIAA semifinals en route to a state title and undefeated season, the Warriors (20-3) returned all but two starters in 2024 with hopes of going back-to-back as PIAA champions. Coming off another District 5 title, they seemed to have all the makings of another juggernaut — but they had never seen a pitcher like Gonglik before.

Bentworth’s highly touted first-year phenom went into enemy territory and twirled a dazzling complete-game gem with 14 strikeouts, allowing one run on two hits and one walk in a 4-1 upset win against the defending champs. Also a feared slugger who drew three intentional walks on the afternoon, Gonglik swatted a solo home run for good measure to help send the Bearcats to the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

“We didn’t know much about them, so we had to go in and start off strong,” Gonglik said. “Getting to move on for the first time in history — it’s great.”

Gonglik now has a WPIAL-leading 275 strikeouts to only 14 walks in 122 innings pitched, and she also has 9 home runs, 23 extra-base hits and 46 runs scored along with a mind-boggling batting average of .774. Her ERA sits at 0.79 and her WHIP is now down to a minuscule 0.52.

Not bad for a freshman, huh?

“If Syd is on the mound, when Syd is on her game, we have a chance to win any game,” said Bentworth coach Jack Cramer. “Especially if it’s the first time you’re playing us. If not, it’s pretty tough to stand in there and see that and react to it. … We told them, ‘If you hit, you win today.’

“They’re a good team. That’s a nice win for us. We’ll take it.”

After leading Bentworth to its first WPIAL championship appearance, Sydney Gonglik has the Bearcats playing in the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time after a 4-1 upset win at reigning PIAA Class 2A champion Everett. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Unlike the Bearcats’ 3-0 WPIAL championship defeat against Neshannock last Thursday, Bentworth’s offense provided more than enough run support for Gonglik this time around. After sophomore Zoie McDonald’s RBI single in the top of the first inning, junior Kyleigh Glaze crushed a no-doubt two-run homer to straightaway center to give the Bearcats a 3-0 lead in the top of the third.

“I was so excited for her,” Gonglik said. “We knew [Glaze] was due. She finally relaxed. It was just great seeing that happen. She definitely sparked it there.”

Gonglik then launched a solo homer to right-center to help her own cause, making it a four-run advantage for Bentworth in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, she fanned the first two batters she faced to punctuate a streak of 10 consecutive strikeouts, baffling Everett’s talent-rich lineup with her scorching fastball and a back-breaking curveball.

“Sydney pitched lights-out today,” Cramer said. “Her curve, everything was spot on. She was geared up for today.”

Now, the Bearcats are moving on to where no team in school history has gone before — and awaiting them in the PIAA quarterfinals are the Laurel Spartans, the same team they defeated in thrilling walk-off fashion to reach their first WPIAL championship game less than two weeks ago. After the way their first meeting ended, it’s only fitting for the two teams to meet again to settle the score — with the winner likely earning another crack at unbeaten Neshannock for a spot in the state championship game, provided the Lancers can get past District 10 champion Saegertown in the quarterfinal round.

“It feels great, bouncing back from that last game,” Gonglik said. “I think it’s going to be a really close game again [against Laurel]. It’s definitely going to come down to the last out.”

Bentworth’s Zoie McDonald drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the first inning to help spark the Bearcats to a 4-1 upset victory at reigning PIAA Class 2A champion Everett. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other Class 2A

• Just like Bentworth, Laurel held up its end of the bargain with a 4-1 victory at District 9 champion Cranberry (15-4) to set up a high-stakes rematch against the Bearcats in the PIAA quarterfinals. Autumn Boyd pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts and allowed one run on three hits and three walks for the Spartans (20-5), while Mayci Lang went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

• Addy Frye struck out 14 and allowed just one hit and one walk across six shutout innings while adding a solo home run for WPIAL champion Neshannock, which trounced District 6 runner-up West Shamokin (19-4) in an 11-0 mercy-rule win at home. Gabby Perod went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI, Jaidon Nogay went 2 for 2 with a double and two RBIs, and Miley Anderson drew four walks and stole three bases on her way to scoring three runs for the unbeaten Lancers (23-0), who now have 17 shutouts on the season.

Class 6A

Seneca Valley superstar Lexie Hames picked up right where she left off in the Raiders’ WPIAL championship win over Norwin, pitching five innings of no-hit ball and striking out 12 while going 1 for 2 with a homer and two RBIs along with a pair of intentional walks in an 11-0 mercy-rule win at District 10 champion McDowell (13-10). A Clemson recruit, Hames struck out 19 in eight innings of work in a 4-3 WPIAL championship win against the Knights on Friday, and she now has 254 strikeouts in only 108 innings pitched along with nine home runs on the year for Seneca Valley (22-1).

Class 5A

• WPIAL champion Armstrong hammered Latrobe (11-13) in a 13-2 mercy-rule victory on its home field, using a balanced offensive attack to clinch its fourth consecutive PIAA quarterfinal appearance. Abby Bauer went 2 for 3 and drove in a trio of runs for the River Hawks (19-3), while Shelby Cloak went 1 for 1 with a walk and three runs scored. Fresh off her clutch performance in a 9-3 WPIAL championship win over Thomas Jefferson last Thursday, senior pitcher Madison Baker allowed one earned run on five hits across three innings to pick up the win.

Armstrong’s Madison Baker, pictured during the 2024 WPIAL Class 5A championship game against Thomas Jefferson, helped the River Hawks defeat Latrobe to clinch their fourth consecutive PIAA quarterfinal appearance. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Class 4A

• Julia Johnson played the hero for WPIAL champion Elizabeth Forward (21-1), blasting a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a scoreless tie and lift the Warriors to a dramatic 1-0 victory against District 3 third-place finisher Big Spring (17-7) at Norwin. Two-way star Shelby Telegdy pitched eight sensational innings of shutout ball to earn the win, striking out 12 and walking none while allowing only three hits and finishing 1 for 3 with a walk at the plate.

• Taylor Walsh pitched a complete game while allowing one run on only two hits and striking out five, and she went 1 for 4 with an RBI to power Chartiers Valley (18-4) to a 6-1 win against District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (16-7) at Penn State-Behrend. Kali Franklin also went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a stolen base and a pair of runs scored, Marta Gualazzi went 2 for 4 and drove in a pair, and Lily Duffill added an RBI double for the Colts.

Class 1A

WPIAL champion Chartiers-Houston had to dig deep to advance past District 5 runner-up Berlin Brothersvalley (16-8), but the battle-tested Buccaneers (19-2) leaned on their stars to eke out a nail-biting 2-1 victory at Peters Township’s Peterswood Park. Ace pitcher Meadow Ferri fired a complete game with nine strikeouts while allowing one run on four hits, and Ferri also went 1 for 3 with an RBI while star catcher Ella Richey went 2 for 4 with a run scored in the win.

• Bailey Barnyak struck out 16 while allowing one run on five hits and three walks in eight innings of work, and Carys McConnell and Katie Waggett each tallied a pair of hits for Carmichaels (17-2) in a 2-1 extra-innings win against District 10 champion Cambridge Springs (16-3) at Penn State-Behrend. McConnell singled home Waggett for the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, then Barnyak recorded a game-ending strikeout to strand runners on first and third in the bottom of the eighth.

Chartiers-Houston’s Meadow Ferri, pictured during the WPIAL Class 1A championship game against Union, authored another signature performance for the Buccaneers in a 2-1 win over Berlin Brothersvalley in the first round of the PIAA tournament. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Class 6A first round

Seneca Valley 11, McDowell 0

Class 5A first round

Armstrong 13, Latrobe 2

Central Mountain 10, Penn-Trafford 0

Thomas Jefferson 17, Solanco 4

Class 4A first round

Chartiers Valley 6, Cathedral Prep 1

Elizabeth Forward 1, Big Spring 0 (8 innings)

St. Mary’s 2, Hampton 0

Class 3A first round

Chestnut Ridge 5, South Park 1

Forest Hills 3, Ligonier Valley 2

Harbor Creek 7, Mohawk 1

Sharon 1, Avonworth 0

Class 2A first round

Bentworth 4, Everett 1

Laurel 4, Cranberry 1

Neshannock 11, West Shamokin 0

Class 1A first round

Carmichaels 2, Cambridge Springs 1 (8 innings)

Chartiers-Houston 2, Berlin Brothersvalley 1

Claysburg-Kimmel 6, West Greene 1

DuBois C.C. 6, Union 1

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve Rotstein

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at